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How to sleep in an airport comfortably and safely

Long Layover? How To Sleep At An Airport Like A Pro

How to sleep in an airport comfortably and safely

Whether you find yourself sleeping in an airport by choice or by some unfortunate stroke of bad luck, it is possible to sleep in an airport relatively comfortably and safely. Here are a few tips to help you make your overnight stay in an airport less stressful and almost fun.

6 Must Know Tips On How To Sleep In An Airport Like A Pro

If you’ve ever travelled by plane, you know sooner or later you’ll be caught in a layover between flights. No biggie if your layover is short-just read a book or grab a bite to eat and wait it out. If however your layover leaves you stranded in an airport overnight, that’s a different story. Here are some things you can do to make sure you sleep better, stay comfortable and safe. You’ll be glad you know this information.

1- Check in advance to see if you are allowed to sleep at an airport

Is it open? You won’t be able to sleep in an airport if it is not open 24 hours. Some places frown upon sleeping in airports like in Japan. If you know in advance you’ll have a long layover, research whether you can or can’t sleep in the airport overnight. If you can’t, try to make arrangements for somewhere to sleep or at least research it.

Is it disgusting? Not all airport sleeping areas are created the same and even though sleeping in the airport is possible, you may not actually want to. According to news.com.au, London Heathrow airport is considered by many travellers to be one of the worst airports to sleep in overnight.

Heathrow has been labelled as too cold with very little comfortable seating to sleep on. Some travellers even complained that the carpets were dirty and flea infested. Others claimed they couldn’t sleep because it was too noisy or that the cleaning crew came around and asked them to move so they could clean.

Know before you go by using sites like http://www.sleepinginairports.net/ which provides user-generated reviews about almost every airport you can think of. You’ll find all the information you need about a particular airport such as whether or not there is free wi-fi, or if an airport is clean, allows sleeping and so much more.

2-Pack A Survival Kit In Your Carry-On Luggage

airport-survival-kit

In addition to wearing or packing comfortable, loose-fitting clothes, you should consider packing a survival kit that will get you through a night or two in the airport. At minimum you should pack the following items plus anything else you think you might need.

  • Pack a change of clothing: My husband and I were stuck in an airport in Colorado when the airport was snowed in. Having a change of clothes was the pick-me-up we needed to feel a littler fresher. When my daughter spilled hot chocolate all over her dress in Switzerland, I broke out her spare clothes. Mommy to the rescue!
  • Pack a toiletry bag full of basic toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrush, contact solution, sanitary products, lotion, 3 oz./100ml bottle of shampoo or soap, deodorant, gel, hair brush, hair scrunchy. I sometimes pack vaseline because it’s so useful.
  • A subset of makeup: Use a clear see through makeup bag and put just the basics. A little BB cream, mascara, lip colour and face powder. The clear makeup bag makes it easy to see what you’ve got at a glance. You can pull it out easily and take it to the restroom rather than rooting around the bottom of your bag to find that lip gloss.
  • Something to cover your eyes: Bring an eye mask or simply lay a shirt on your head to block out the airport lights. I’ve seen some people wear a beenie pulled down over their eyes.
  • Earplugs: You’ll be glad you have some earplugs even if the airport is not super loud. Blocking out the sound really does help you sleep. Try the earplugs with strings attached. You’ll never lose them if they fall out.
  • A small travel pillow or roll up a sweatshirt for you head. Seen some people actually bring their bed pillows from home. I like to pack compact micro-beed filled pillow because it stuffs easily in my bag and when you lay on it, it forms perfectly around my head.
  • A small travel blanket,  sweatshirt, or a fashionable oversized scarf like a pashmina to cover yourself: It gets cold in airports. Oversized scarves look great too.
  • Wet wipes and or tissue paper: Wet wipes or travel wipes really come in handy for quick washing’s in the airport sink. I like to bring wet wipes which have moisturizer in it already just for my face.
  • Snacks: Bring something that won’t get crushed and can curb your hunger. Nuts, chocolate, granola bars? Snacks are expensive in the airport.
  • Entertainment: A book, iPhone for music, Kindle eReader
  • Spare battery for your electronics: If you can’t get a spot by a wall plug, having an external battery on hand to keep you electronics charged is a life saver. Make sure you choose an external batter pack that has enough juice to keep your phone or tablet charged up to 24 hours. The one I use is rated 10,400 mAH. The standard input voltage of smart devices is 5 volts so don’t buy an external battery that is less than this. I highly recommend the Ravpower external battery which I use almost everyday even when I am not travelling. It can charge 2 devices at the same time which means you won’t be fighting over who gets to charge their electronics.
  • Pack the kids stuff: If travelling with kids, pack their essentials too including clothes to sleep in, toys and some form of entertainment like crayons or books.

3- How to find the best spot to sleep at the airport

airport-sleep-overnight

Sleeping in an airport is a bit of a science and not all airports are created equal when it comes to sleeping in them.  Some airports have sleeping facilities, lounges and even rooms where travellers can sleep. You should ask someone at the airport if this exists. If not, you will need to find the best spot to sleep in.

Take a walk around the airport and look for a good place to sleep. Here are some things you should consider when choosing a spot to sleep.

  • Safety: If possible try to sleep where other people are sleeping. Safety in numbers
  • Stay away from high traffic areas: Toilets, check in desks, next to stores or food vendors are all high traffic and noisy areas to sleep in which could make it difficult to sleep. However if you pack some earplugs and eye mask this might be less of an issue.
  • Look for a set of chairs with no arm rests: It will be easier to stretch out on and more comfortable and cleaner than the floor.
  • Look for clean carpeted areas: If there are no chairs, consider sleeping on the floor. I like to sleep close to a wall or window on one side of me with my luggage between me and the wall.
  • Look for outlets: If you have to charge your phone or laptop, you may want to stay near an outlet.

4-Protect your passport, purse, property and luggage

airport-sleep-lock-luggage

Here are a few tips to keep your luggage or valuables from being stolen while you sleep

  • Keep you passports, credit cards and cash near you or on you. Otherwise put your valuables in an INSIDE pocket of your bag NOT the outside pocket where it can easily be snatched.
  • Put larger expensive things like cameras, laptops and purses inside your luggage with a carry-on luggage lock.
  • Try to put your luggage between you and a wall like a sandwich.
  • Lay your head on your bag or take a strap and anchor your luggage to a chair near you or to you which will make it impossible for anyone to run off with your luggage. You can use locks especially made for this which are light or bring a bicycle lock with you.

5- Don’t miss your connecting flight

sleep-in-airport-alarm-cloc

Confirm your flight details so you know when you need to wake up to catch your connecting flight and which gate you need to go to.

Take precautions so you wake up on time by any means necessary. I have seen people put stick-it notes on their head that say “wake me up at 8:30 in the morning so I don’t miss my flight”. You could just bring a travel clock or set the alarm on your phone too.

6- Prepare for bed

Just like you would at home, it helps to clean up before bed even if it is on some yucky airport floor. Change into something comfortable if you have to. Brush your teeth, wash your face and take off your shoes. I like to have a pair of socks on hand or small slippers. Then set your alarm, listen to some music or read a book if you have to, then try to relax and get some sleep.

Conclusion

Sleeping in airports can be fun or it can be total hell. My kids love sleeping in airports but it’s a different story the next morning when I try to wake them up after a night of sleepless excitement.

Use your best judgment on deciding whether or not to sleep in an airport for long layovers and be sure to check out www.sleepinginairports.net.

Bon Voyage

tsa security checkpoint playset toy

Does Playmobil Security Checkpoint Toy Teach Children Racial Profiling?

what’s the big deal? Playmobil came out with a toy that caused many people to fly off the deep end, especially parents. The toy is the “Playmobil Security Checkpoint Play-set”.
The playmobil security checkpoint playset is no longer being sold, probably because of all the negative feedback but I did happen to see a used play-set for sale on Amazon.

So What’s The Big Deal? It’s just a toy right?

playmobil security checkpoint playset

The big deal is people are likening the security checkpoint play-set to the actual “TSA Security Checkpoints” at U.S. Airports.

Some people say, just the existence of this toy teaches children to accept racial profiling and improper searches. A topic that has been very controversial as of late. . 

Over at amazon, there were over one hundred comments left by people ranging from pure outrage to disgust over the existence of this toy.

Review after review suggested that this simple toy, teaches and conditions children to accept that it’s ok for innocent citizens to

  • have their privacy violated by unwarranted pat downs,
  • walking through x-ray machines that can produce images of virtually naked bodies
  • or being pulled aside because your name is Habib or your skin is too dark.

In other words, many people think it’s not ok that Americans 4th Amendment rights are violated in the name of security and that this toy is conditioning young children to be accepting of this violation. 

4th Amendment: does TSA seurity violate them?:

What’s The 4th Amendment?

Unfamiliar with the 4th amendment of US citizens?

Simply put, the 4th Amendment states that peoples privacy will not be violated against unreasonable searches and seizures without probably cause.

Pissed Off Reviews Left By People

Here are a few of the reviews left behind at Amazon about this toy.

You can hear the anger and the venomous sarcasm oozing from each review making them somewhat humorous.

1- One person said that this toy put us One Step Closer To an Orwelian World

“Does this include a pocket constitution complete with the 4th. Amendment of the Bill of Rights? What a farce. This is just another step toward the Orwellian States of America. Ban the TSA.”

2- Another person said that they liked the playset but wants to wait for the Mexican drug cartel play set:

“I’m waiting for the Playmobil Mexican drug cartel set! It comes complete with ransom note, bale of marijuana and the victims come with both heads and headless bodies. Wonderful toy for kids. Let’s them see their future. But the Playmobil Security Checkpoint Playset set is good for teaching your kids about how America is not free any-more, ESPECIALLY when there is a toy that proves it!”

playmobil security checkpoint playset

3-Jake is worried about his genitalia being exposed by x-ray machines. He only gave 1 star and left this outraged review.

“Really? Are you kidding me? I cannot believe that Playmobil would release a product like this. There would be more outrage if there was an X-ray machine exposing their genitalia and an interrogation room to get molested in. Congratulations, Playmobil, you’re another pawn in the New World Order who doesn’t give a damn about the welfare of children when they’re being sexually molested by TSA security agents.”

4-R. AshCraft left this snarky remark about the toys inability to teach racial profiling:

“My kids were so excited to get this toy and were waiting for the post each day until it finally arrived.
You could imagine my disappointment when we opened it up and all the figures were white.
How do I teach my children the importance of racial profiling without at least one darker skinned person? Where is the turban? It didn’t even have a Qur’an….
What is the fun in having some boring white woman who doesn’t even need to take her shoes off to get through security?”

There were pages and pages of reviews like this. Each one worse than the previous. 

Stop Your Wining

playmobil security checkpoint playset

On the flip side, there were a few brave commenter who spoke up in defence of this toy going so far as to say that airline security although not perfect is an evil necessary.

Here are some of their comments. There weren’t many. I think they were afraid to be chastised for going against the mass complaints.

1- Bree who apparently went to high school with metal detectors prefers to feel safe rather than fear being stabbed.

“I went to a high school with metal detectors; did I complain about a breach of privacy? No. If they want to look at my tampons, go ahead. I’d rather have a bag check then some social reject stabbing a knife into me. It’s sad when the kids act more adult than the…well, adults.”

2- Virginia thinks people should lighten up. Here is what she said.

“Once again people have taken an innocent toy reflecting our everyday lives and made it into something evil.
Like it or not, airport security is a part of our lives. Does it force us to spend precious minutes in our travel days
showing someone that we are honest people with nothing to hide? Yes. How awful!”

There were one or two more but again not many people spoke up in defence of this security checkpoint playset.

Conclusion

You just have to laugh.

Whether I believe airport security in the US violates a citizens privacy is irrelevant.

The question is: Does this toy condition children to accept that their rights might be violated by the process at US airport security in airports?

The short answer is, I don’t think it does teach kids that it’s OK to have your privacy violated.

Listen, my two sons turn paper clips and hangers into guns. Does that mean that paper clips and hangers teach kids to use guns? Of course not.

The same logic can be applied to this playset. I doubt that there are parents out there buying this and showing their kids how to do a strip search or pat someone down inappropriately or perform a probe! And if you are, than you are a sicko!

It’s a Toy people:

Ultimately, this is just a toy.  It’s what you  the parent make of it. So use it that way.

You can use it to teach your kids what to expect at the airport and maybe even alleviate some of their anxiety associated with going to a noisy and overcrowded place for the first time or

you can choose to believe that by simply having this toy that you are teaching children to lay down their civil rights.

That’s it.

I’ve said my peace.

What Do You Think?

Do you think this toy teaches children to roll-over and accept that it’s ok to have ones civil rights violated or that it’s ok to do racial profiling all in the name of security? Leave your comments below.

If you want to read the hundreds of comments yourself, check out the Playmobil security check point on Amazon

Watch this entertaining stop motion video someone made using the Playmobil security checkpoint play-set  Watch the ending where one of the action figure bends over.

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